No changes to squad for first Test May 16, 2004

England resist temptation to tinker

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Nasser Hussain: retained, despite Ian Botham's reservations © Getty Images
There were no surprises when England's selectors named their 13-man squad to play New Zealand in the first Test at Lord's starting on Thursday. But after such a successful Test series in the Caribbean, the only raised eyebrows would have come if they had tinkered with a winning side.

The only ripples on an otherwise smooth pond came earlier in the week when Ian Botham said that Nasser Hussain should make way for a younger man. "I have the greatest respect for Beefy's views," said David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors, "but in this case, regarding Nasser, I personally don't agree with him."

Once that matter had been decided, the rest of the meeting was a rubber-stamping exercise, although Graveney was keen to stress that the door was still very much open to those on the periphery. "Competition for places in the starting line-up is intense," he explained. "We have got to win today but also plan for tomorrow. There's no doubt Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood were the two main contenders. They are two of the people who will be a part of the future."

With the weather forecast to be warm in the build-up to the match, but cooler and cloudier from Thursday, England will wait before deciding to play their one spinner - Ashley Giles - or opt for an all-seam attack. If they go down that route then Collingwood would probably play, as including James Anderson would mean that the tail starts at No. 8.

England Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan (capt), Mark Butcher, Graham Thorpe, Nasser Hussain, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Geraint Jones (wk), Ashley Giles, Stephen Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones, James Anderson.